The following passage was taken from this NYT article (7th, 8th, and 9th paragraph counting from the last paragraph).

One of the most dramatic moments she described came in the July 10 meeting in Mr. Bolton’s office that included Mr. Sondland; Kurt D. Volker, then the special envoy for Ukraine; Rick Perry, the energy secretary; and two Ukrainian officials.

The purpose of the meeting was to talk about technical assistance to Ukraine’s national security council. The Ukrainians were eager to set up a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky, who was elected on a promise to clean up corruption and resolve the country’s five-year war with Russian-armed separatists.

Mr. Bolton was trying to not commit to a meeting, according to Ms. Hill’s testimony. Mr. Sondland got agitated, Ms. Hill testified, and let out that there was an agreement with Mr. Mulvaney that there would be a meeting if Ukraine opened up the investigations the White House was seeking.

Does the sentence in bold mean Bolton was trying to avoid (not appear at) the meeting the Ukrainians wanted, or that he was trying to prevent the meeting from happening?


2 Answers 2


In context, the Ukrainian team and the US team were discussing setting up a meeting with their leaders. Bolton was attempting to avoid agreeing to setup this meeting between the US president and the Ukrainian president.


In this context:

Commit means to promise to give yourself, your money, your time, etc., to support something

So essentially Mr Bolton does not want to promise that he will have this meeting. He can be described as non-committal.

I think, given this definition, it is fair to say he is probably trying to avoid the meeting, but that is sub-textual.

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